An alleged killer nurse murdered a five-day-old baby by injecting air into his stomach through a nose tube, a court heard today.
Lucy Letby, 32, is alleged to have gone on a year-long killing spree while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital in Cheshire.
She denies murdering five boys and two girls and attempting to murder another five boys and five girls between June 2015 and June 2016.
On the second day of the prosecution opening, Manchester Crown Court heard how Letby allegedly killed a baby boy, child C, just six days after murdering for the first time, when she killed another baby boy, child A, and days later attacked, child B.
Child C died because the air injected into his stomach made him unable to breath and he suffered a cardiac arrest, Nick Johnson KC told the jury.
The boy had been born prematurely at 30 weeks, weighing only 800 grams, but despite going into intensive care was in good condition.
On the nightshift of June 14, Letby was supposed to be looking after another, more poorly baby, in another room.
But she was the only person in the room when Child C suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed.
Prosecutor Mr Johnson continued: “Again, taking a step back, you can now see there was a pattern emerging.
“Lucy Letby was the only person working on the night shift when child C died who had also been working on either of the shifts when child A died and child B collapsed.
“What we are going to see, as we progress, is that Lucy Letby’s method of attacking the babies in the neo-natal unit was beginning to develop.
“She had injected air into the bloodstream of child A and B, and varied this approach by injecting air into child C’s stomach via the nasogastric tube.”
The latest allegations come after the court yesterday heard how Letby was a “poisoner at work”.
Opening the prosecution case on Monday, Mr Johnson said: “It is a hospital like so many others in the UK, but unlike many other hospitals in the UK and unlike many other neonatal units in the UK, within the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital a poisoner was at work.
“Prior to January 2015 the statistics for the mortality of babies in the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester were comparable to other like units.
“However over the next 18 months or so there was a significant rise in the number of babies who were dying and in the number of serious catastrophic collapses.
“And these rises were noticed by the consultants working at the Countess of Chester and they searched for a cause.”
Letby earlier pleaded not guilty to seven counts of murder and 15 counts of attempted murder.
A court order prohibits reporting of the identities of surviving and deceased children allegedly attacked by Letby, and prohibits identifying parents or witnesses connected with the children.
The trial continues.